Context - CSR For All

EU Directive on the disclosure
of non-financial and
diversity information
• In the EU CSR strategy from October 2011 „A renewed
EU strategy 2011-14 for Corporate Social Responsibility“,
the EU Commission announced to
„present a
legislative proposal on the transparency of the social and
information provided by companies in
all sectors”.
• Proposal for a Directive by the EU Commission on 16 April
• On 26 February 2014, a political agreement has been
reached between the European Parliament and the
• Directive still has to be formally adopted (vote in EP
15 April 2014)
• The provisions on non-financial reporting will be
incorporated into the EU “Accounting Directive”
(2013/34/EU), which was adopted on 26 June 2013.
Which companies will be required to report?
• The new provisions will be applicable to “public
interest entities” with more than 500 employees.
• Public interest entities are companies, such as listed
undertakings, banks, insurance companies. The EU
member states are allowed to open the scope to
undertakings that “are of significant public relevance
because of the nature of their business, their size or
the number of their employees” (opening clause).
Which companies will be required to report?
• Therefore, small and medium-sized companies are
exempted from the new reporting obligation.
• Some 6,000 public interest entities in the EU fall
under the scope of the Directive.
On what issues have companies to report on?
• The Directive will require EU companies to draw up, on a
yearly basis, a statement in their annual report or in a
separate sustainability report relating to
– environmental, social and employee-related matters,
– respect for human rights,
– anti-corruption and bribery matters.
• The non-financial statement will have to include a
description of the company policy, results of these policies
and principal risks related to those matters.
• Furthermore, companies have to report on
– implemented due diligence processes in relation to the
various topics covered (e.g. environmental, social and
employee matters)
– its business relationships, “where relevant and
proportionate … which are likely to cause adverse
– non-financial key performance indicators.
• Where a company does not pursue policies in relation to
these matters, it will have to explain why this is the case.
However, there is a safe harbour clause to give
companies the possibility not to divulge commercially
sensitive information under certain circumstances.
• Auditors may only check that the non-financial information
has been provided – no consistency check or opinion.
However, Member States are allowed to introduce a
consistency check.
Diversity policy
• As regards diversity on companies` administrative,
management and supervisory bodies, large listed
companies will be required to provide information as
part of the corporate governance statement on their
diversity policy, such as, for instance:
- age,
- gender,
- educational and professional background.
Diversity policy
• Disclosures will set out the objectives of the policy,
how it has been implemented, and the results.
• Companies which do not have a diversity policy will
have to explain why not.
• Auditors check that the non-financial information has
been provided
Next Steps
• In terms of procedure, the agreement needs to be formally
adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.
• The European Parliament plenary vote is scheduled to
take place on 15 April and the Council adoption thereafter.
• In summer 2014 the new EU-Directive will come into
Next Steps
• The EU Commission will prepare non-binding guidelines,
including general and sectorial non-financial KPIs within
two years after the adoption of the Directive.
• Members States will have two years time to implement the
Directive into national law. They shall implement a
transposition period of one year.
• Thus, the legal obligation for large European companies
to report on non-financial information will come into force
in 2017.

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